WATERFORD — The Connecticut Siting Council voted Thursday to reopen a solar project slated for 117 Oil Mill Road in Waterford and will hold a public hearing on the matter at a date to be determined.
“The reopened matter will be entitled, “Petition 1347A” and as soon as we are able to draft the public hearing documents, a hearing notice will be submitted for publication to a newspaper of general circulation in the area, as well as posted on our website. I expect that we will accomplish this by close of business tomorrow, or no later than close of business on Monday,” wrote Melanie Bachman, executive director of the Siting Council, in an email to CT Examiner on Thursday afternoon.
In 2018, the Siting Council rejected the proposed 16-megawatt, 98-acre facility made up of 55,692 panels, by Greenskies Clean Energy LLC. The company has submitted a redesigned 15.3-megawatt, 75-acre facility comprised of 45,976 panels. The changes “will have less impact on water quality, storm drainage and wildlife,” according to the motion to reopen.
The changes to the plan are the result of feedback from the Siting Council, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection, the Town of Waterford and Save the Rivers/Save the Hills, according to testimony from Jean-Paul La Marche, project development director at Greenskies.
La Marche said Greenskies hired VHB, a third-party environmental and engineering firm, to perform additional onsite wildlife studies and examine potential impacts on water quality. VHB also investigated storm water discharge on the site based on new guidance for solar array installations, known as Appendix I, from the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.
In 2017, Clean Focus Yield Limited, of Sunnyvale, Calif., purchased Greenskies, which was co-founded by former state Sen. Art Linares.
The siting council documents are available here.